The hybrid balancing act
Striking the right work mix for your specific team is something that business leaders are going to continue to navigate in the coming year. While being physically present in the office fosters teamwork and camaraderie, remote working offers flexibility and saves valuable resources.
Commuting takes a toll on mental well-being, and by offering flexibility, managers can alleviate the stress and cost associated with daily traffic. But, for certain roles, like for example sales teams, being in the office at least some of the time is crucial for face-to-face interactions. These team members feed off the collective spirit and energy around them. Then there are the external factors like load-shedding which can impact on remote connectivity and the ability for employees to work from home.
So, I believe that 2024 will see local businesses continue to craft tailored work models that are unique to the needs of their industry and the people within their company.
The focus on nurturing a workplace that prioritises employee mental wellbeing will remain a key focus in 2024. I believe that a cornerstone to this is fostering psychological safety, or creating an environment where team members feel free to question and engage with business leaders without fear. It will become increasingly important that every individual feels secure enough to question authority if necessary.
Another element to holistic wellbeing is creating an environment that people not only want to join, but also find compelling reasons to stay and grow along with.
Having recently moved offices ourselves, Mediamark has seen firsthand the benefit of carefully curating an office space to make it an inviting and energising space. This helps ensures that team members genuinely want to be at the office, when they do come in. Encouraging a playful side of the business also contributes to an energised atmosphere. Make it fun!
The human touch
As more businesses turn to AI for certain mundane aspects of work, soft skills will become more critical. While automation will, in some sense, liberate us and give us more time to use creativity in business, it will also see soft skills become increasingly important to stand out from the crowd.
Take for example the importance of a salesperson’s relationship with a potential customer, AI (as it stands) can’t foster the necessary trust and connection to seal a deal.
The human touch is also needed when it comes to the extensive data that we can glean nowadays. I believe more emphasis will be put on how we use data to inform our decision-making. There’s no doubt that successful decision-making involves balancing the actual data with analytical reasoning and intuitive understanding – or our gut.
As we navigate the synergy between ‘art and science’, 2024 will be a year when more businesses will put an emphasis on upskilling soft skills like good communication and interpersonal problem solving.